My Top Ten Favorite Saints

Friday, January 2, AD 2015

I have always thought it says a lot about Catholics as to whether they have favorite saints, and who they are if they do have special saints.  Here are my top ten.

10.  Saint Andreas Wouters-Most saints have been extraordinary men and women.  That was decidedly not the case with Andreas Wouters!  A scandalous priest, he fathered several children.  Suspended from his priestly duties, he was living in disgrace when God granted him the opportunity to die a martyr’s death, an opportunity he seized with both hands like a drowning man cast a life line. His courage and steadfastness redeemed his life of sin.  May all of us have such a happy death as he did.  Go here to read about him.

 9.  Blessed Miguel Pro, SJ-Not canonized yet, I have no doubt that “God’s Jester” is a saint in Heaven.  During the Cristeros Rebellion in Mexico, he adopted many disguises to bring the sacraments to the Mexican people.  A lover of jokes, he is proof positive that saints need not be solemn.  When the Mexican government executed him, a death he met with incredible courage, the officials took copious pictures which appeared in newspapers.  The strategy backfired with Cristeros troops treating the pictures as precious relics and carrying them with them into battle.  Go here to read about him.

 8.  Saint Marianne Cope– Throughout my life I have been blessed with the friendship of strong women, starting with the love of my formidable sainted mother, and perhaps that is why I have always been drawn to strong female saints.  Few have been stronger than Mother Marianne and her nuns who pioneered the care for female lepers in Hawaii.  No difficulty or danger could deter her from bringing God’s love to her lepers.  Go here to read about her.

 7.  Venerable Matt Talbot-Some saints become famous during their lifetime and some, the vast majority no doubt, are known only to God.  Matt Talbot’s was a quiet path to sainthood that would be known only to God, but for the accident of his dying on a street in Dublin.  However, God does not see as man sees, and I have always thought that this reformed drunk ranks high among the champions of Christ.  Go here to read about him.

 6.  Saint Kateri Tekakwitha-Some saints God decides to distinguish with miracles after their death.  Such was the case of Lily of the Mohawks.  Go here to read about her.

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15 Responses to My Top Ten Favorite Saints

  • We all have our favorite saints, but I feel all lists should have the following: Mary, Joseph, and John the baptist. Mary conceived with out sin mother of God; Joseph – at conception had original sin on his soul only to have God remove it a second later – he never sinned again- protector of Jesus and Mary – the hardest role any man could undertake; John the baptist from the moment in Elizabeth’s womb to the day he died, he never took his eyes off of God and the proclaiming of the coming of the savior.

  • Chesterton once wrote something along the lines of, the Bible is a riddle and the Church is the answer. Both evangelicals and atheists treat Christianity as the Bible, but a document can’t be a religion. The Church can only be properly understood by including the lives of its holiest members. They explain the faith in practice.

    I’m not sure who my top ten would be, but St. Catherine of Siena would be at least a close #2. No disrespect intended to the Blessed Mother. I wish we knew more of Our Lady’s life and words. I’m just able to feel closer to those saints who were authors. Thomas Aquinas would definitely be on my top ten, along with Francis de Sales. All three are Doctors of the Church, with both Catherine’s and Francis’s thinking being influenced by Thomism.

    And, as I say every year, thank you for bringing St. Andreas Wouters to my attention!

  • May I respectfully add St Anthony of Padua, and St Therese of Lisieux, both saints of the “impossible”, without which my life would be completely a different [and not-a-better] one. Yet again, nothing is impossible for God.

  • I don’t know much about St. Anthony of Padua, so I just looked him up on Wikipedia. He impressed the Dominicans with his theology and the Franciscans with his simplicity? Hard to think of greater praise than that.

  • Saints preserve us. The Immaculate Conception is a most fascinating person.

  • Like most Catholics, I have a list of “saint/friends”. In addition to our Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, the Little Flower (& approximately 20 others I ask for intercession) I always include St. Dymphna, the patroness of mental stress & duress – seems fitting in THESE times, St Michael for protection against the evil one, St Joseph of Cupertino for his excellent acceptance of his limitations & his great humility, St Theresa Benedicta for her embrace of conversion & St Maximillian Kolbe for his love of God, Mary & others. Thank you for sharing your list – I love learning about our friends in heaven who want nothing more than to help us achieve heaven!

  • My daughter’s are named Joan, (Joan of Arc) Katherine(Mother Katherine Drexel) . Maria(Maria Goretti). My other’s are St. Francis Cabrini, Venerable Matt Talbot, Blessed Miguel Pro, St. Gianna Molla and St. Camillius, just to name a few.

  • Jeanne Rohl: One of my favorite saints is Camillus de Lellis simply because I too, have taken seven decades to obey God’s vocation, and if God can love him, then God can love me, too. Aren’t all saints mirrors of God love?

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  • Well said Pinky.
    I hope one day we have Saint Chesterton.

    As I love read about Crusades my list of favorite saints will include st Louis ix, st Dominic, blessed Urban II, st. Joan Darc, st Bernard, st Thomas Aquinas. But also st Catherine laboure, st. Maximilian Kolbe, then of course Our Lady of Grace.
    I think that he was perhaps too violent but I admire a lot Richard The lionheart.
    I will research about your favorite saints, Donald, I love what you said on st Andreas and Matt Talbot.

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  • good day everyone….i end my mass, rosary and prayers with intercessions from my saints and they are: 1) Mary hrough Her Immaculate Heart, 2) St. Joseph, 3) St. Michael the Archangel, 4) St. Anthony of Padua, 5) St. Francis of Assisi, 6) St. John Vianney, 7) St. Padre Pio, 8) San Pedro Calungsod (2nd Filipino saint and am a Filipino, lol), 9) St. Pope John Paul II (i was 18 years old when he became our pope), 10) St. Therese of the Child JESUS, 11) St. Therese of Avila, 12) St. Claire of Assisi, 13) St. Faustina of the Divine Mercy, 14. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and 15) Blessed Pope Paul VI. Thanks everyone and God bless all….

  • Pedro Eric: “I think that he was perhaps too violent but I admire a lot Richard The lionheart.”
    .
    Strength from heaven above cannot be too forceful.

  • Our Lady is in a class all by herself, above all the saints and angels.

    My faves:
    Servant of God Queen Isabel the Catholic – drove out the infidel Muslims, unified Spain, cleaned up the government, appointed reformers to the Church in Spain, approved of Columbus’ voyage which led to more than two thirds of the Western Hemisphere becoming Catholic…
    St. Catherine of Siena, Servant of God Demetrius Gallitzin, the Apostle to the Alleghenies, Blessed Miguel Pro

  • Yes, all these extraordinary lives: but Padre Miguel Pro—a man who was absolutely fearless, even facing the fusiliers. So much for “…Proselytism is such solemn nonsense:” uttered by another nonsensical Jesuit, irony in a class by itself.

Saint Athanasius on the Trinity

Sunday, June 15, AD 2014

 

 

We acknowledge the Trinity, holy and perfect, to consist of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In this Trinity there is no intrusion of any alien element or of anything from outside, nor is the Trinity a blend of creative and created being. It is a wholly creative and energizing reality, self-consistent and undivided in its active power, for the Father makes all things through the Word and in the Holy Spirit, and in this way the unity of the holy Trinity is preserved. Accordingly, in the Church, one God is preached, one God who is above all things and through all things and in all things. God is above all things as Father, for he is principle and source; he is through all things through the Word; and he is in all things in the Holy Spirit.

Writing to the Corinthians about spiritual matters, Paul traces all reality back to one God, the Father, saying: Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of service but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in everyone.

 

Even the gifts that the Spirit dispenses to individuals are given by the Father through the Word. For all that belongs to the Father belongs also to the Son, and so the graces given by the Son in the Spirit are true gifts of the Father. Similarly, when the Spirit dwells in us, the Word who bestows the Spirit is in us too, and the Father is present in the Word. This is the meaning of the text: My Father and I will come to him and make our home with him. For where the light is, there also is the radiance; and where the radiance is, there too are its power and its resplendent grace.

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One Response to Saint Athanasius on the Trinity

  • The Athanasian Creed

    Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic [i.e. universal, Christian] faith.

    Which faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

    And the catholic faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity,

    Neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the Substance.

    For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost.

    But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one:
    the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.

    Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost.

    The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate.

    The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.

    The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal.

    And yet they are not three Eternals, but one Eternal.
    As there are not three Uncreated nor three Incomprehensibles, but one Uncreated and one Incomprehensible.

    So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Ghost almighty.

    And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty.

    So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God.
    And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.

    So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord.
    And yet not three Lords, but one Lord.

    For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord.

    So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say, There be three Gods and three Lords.

    The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten.
    The Son is of the Father alone, not made nor created, but begotten.
    The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son, neither made nor created nor begotten, but proceeding.

    So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.

    But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together and coequal, so that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.

    He, therefore, that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.

    Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe faithfully the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man;

    God of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man of the substance of His mother, born in the world;

    Perfect God and perfect Man of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.

    Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood;

    Who, although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but one Christ:

    One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking the manhood into God;

    One altogether not by confusion of Substance, but by unity of Person.

    For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and Man is one Christ;

    Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell; rose again the third day from the dead;

    He ascended into Heaven; He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty; from whence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

    At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies and shall give an account of their own works.

    And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire.

    This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.

    for Holy Trinity Sunday …

Saint Athanasius: On the Incarnation

Tuesday, December 24, AD 2013

His epitaph is Athanasius contra mundum, “Athanasius against the world.” We are proud that our own country has more than once stood against the world. Athanasius did the same. He stood for the Trinitarian doctrine, “whole and undefiled,” when it looked as if all the civilised world was slipping back from Christianity into the religion of Arius—into one of those “sensible” synthetic religions which are so strongly recommended today and which, then as now, included among their devotees many highly cultivated clergymen. It is his glory that he did not move with the times; it is his reward that he now remains when those times, as all times do, have moved away.

CS Lewis

I can think of nothing more appropriate for Christmas Eve than this passage from On the Incarnation by Saint Athanasius:

 

For this purpose, then, the incorporeal and incorruptible and immaterial Word of God entered our world. In one sense, indeed, He was not far from it before, for no part of creation had ever been without Him Who, while ever abiding in union with the Father, yet fills all things that are. But now He entered the world in a new way, stooping to our level in His love and Self-revealing to us. He saw the reasonable race, the race of men that, like Himself, expressed the Father’s Mind, wasting out of existence, and death reigning over all in corruption. He saw that corruption held us all the closer, because it was the penalty for the Transgression; He saw, too, how unthinkable it would be for the law to be repealed before it was fulfilled. He saw how unseemly it was that the very things of which He Himself was the Artificer should be disappearing. He saw how the surpassing wickedness of men was mounting up against them; He saw also their universal liability to death. All this He saw and, pitying our race, moved with compassion for our limitation, unable to endure that death should have the mastery, rather than that His creatures should perish and the work of His Father for us men come to nought, He took to Himself a body, a human body even as our own. Nor did He will merely to become embodied or merely to appear; had that been so, He could have revealed His divine majesty in some other and better way. No, He took our body, and not only so, but He took it directly from a spotless, stainless virgin, without the agency of human father—a pure body, untainted by intercourse with man. He, the Mighty One, the Artificer of all, Himself prepared this body in the virgin as a temple for Himself, and took it for His very own, as the instrument through which He was known and in which He dwelt. Thus, taking a body like our own, because all our bodies were liable to the corruption of death, He surrendered His body to death instead of all, and offered it to the Father. This He did out of sheer love for us, so that in His death all might die, and the law of death thereby be abolished because, having fulfilled in His body that for which it was appointed, it was thereafter voided of its power for men. This He did that He might turn again to incorruption men who had turned back to corruption, and make them alive through death by the appropriation of His body and by the grace of His resurrection. Thus He would make death to disappear from them as utterly as straw from fire.

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3 Responses to Saint Athanasius: On the Incarnation

Messianic Prophecies: Isaiah 35

Monday, December 23, AD 2013

 

 

Continuing our Advent look at Messianic prophecies for this year, which we began in Advent 2011 and continued last year, the earlier posts of the series may be read here, here, here ,here, here, here, here, here , here here, here, here, here and here we come to Isaiah 35:

 

 

[1] The land that was desolate and impassable shall be glad, and the wilderness shall rejoice, and shall flourish like the lily. [2] It shall bud forth and blossom, and shall rejoice with joy and praise: the glory of Libanus is given to it: the beauty of Carmel, and Saron, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the beauty of our God. [3] Strengthen ye the feeble hands, and confirm the weak knees. [4] Say to the fainthearted: Take courage, and fear not: behold your God will bring the revenge of recompense: God himself will come and will save you. [5] Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

[6] Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall be free: for waters are broken out in the desert, and streams in the wilderness. [7] And that which was dry land, shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water. In the dens where dragons dwell before, shall rise up the verdure of the reed and the bulrush. [8] And a path and a way shall be there, and it shall be called the holy way: the unclean shall not pass over it, and this shall be unto you a straight way, so that fools shall not err therein. [9] No lion shall be there, nor shall any mischievous beast go up by it, nor be found there: but they shall walk there that shall be delivered. [10] And the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and shall come into Sion with praise, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and mourning shall flee away

Saint Athanasius writes of this passage:

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Saint Athanasius on Mary, Mother of God

Tuesday, January 1, AD 2013

 

O noble Virgin, truly you are greater than any other greatness. For who is your equal in greatness, O dwelling place of God the Word? To whom among all creatures shall I compare you, O Virgin? You are greater than them all. O Ark of the New] Covenant, clothed with purity instead of gold! You are the Ark in which is found the golden vessel containing the true manna, that is, the flesh in which divinity resides. Should I compare you to the fertile earth and its fruits? You surpass them, for it is written: “The earth is my foostool”. But you carry within you the feet, the head, and the entire body of the perfect God.
 
If I say that heaven is exalted, yet it does not equal you, for it is writen: “Heaven is My throne”, while you are God’s place of repose. If I say that the angels and archangels are great — but you are greater than them all, for the angels and the archangels serve with trembling the One Who dwells in your womb, and they dare not speak in His presence, while you speak to Him freely.
 
If we say that the cherubim are great, you are greater than they, for the cherubim carry the throne, while you hold God in your hands. If we say that the serphim are great, you are greater than them all, for the seraphim cover their faces with their wings, unable to look upon the perfect glory, while you not only gaze upon His face but caress it and offer your breasts to His holy mouth.

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5 Responses to Saint Athanasius on Mary, Mother of God

  • Delicious And Sweet these words of wonderment.

    The surest and most pleasing way to Jesus’ Sacred Heart is by the pure hand of Our Mother Mary. The Saints of old have it right!
    To Jesus through Mary. Humility and proper respect for Lady Poverty are footpaths leading to the crib most Holy. Immaculata teach us your ways to Holiness.

  • I think this is the full lyrics to the song, but I have seen other Latin versions:

    O Sanctissima O Piissima
    Dulcis Virgo Maria
    Mater amta intemerata
    Ora ora pro nobis

    Ora ora
    Ora pro nobis

    Virgo respice, Mater adspice
    Audi nos, O Maria!
    Sicut lilium inter spinas
    Sic Maria inter filias

    Jubilate, Cherubim,
    Exsultate, Seraphim!
    Consonante perpetim,
    Salve, salve Regina!

    O Sanctissima, O Piisima
    Dulcis Virgo Maria

    Ora, ora, ora Pro Nobis

    Sancta Maria, sancta Maria Mater Dei
    Sancta Maria, sancta Maria Mater Dei

    Jubilate, Cherubim,
    Exsultate, Seraphim!
    Consonante perpetim,
    Salve, salve Regina!

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  • Father McCartney’s sermon covered the Motherhood of Mary. She is not only Mother of God and of the Church. She is my Mother. Our Lord on His Holy Cross gave Her to St. John and St. John to Her, and through St. John Motherhood of the Church and to each of us.

    For a few years, each day I prayerfully read the “Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary” also known as the “Litany of Loreto.”

    I have it on a prayer card my Grandmother (RIP) gave me many years ago. In her lovely handwriting she wrote my name on it.

    The closing prayer says, “Father, you gave the human race salvation through the motherhood of the Virgin Mary. May we experience the help of her prayers in our lives, for through her we received the very source of life, Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

    I am compelled to report yet another (utterly unmerited) miraculous interevention by my Holy Mother in Heaven. Her intercession brought my wife and I through a dangerous traffic incident. That we were not injured and the car was unscathed can only be explained by the workings of Divine Assistance. The special intention of this day’s Rosary must be thanksgiving for this and all blessings.

    “Therefore, I fly to You O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother. […] before You I stand sinful and sorrowful.”

  • Our Lord gave us three wonderful gifts.
    He gave us Himself in the Eucharist
    He gave us His bride – the Church
    And He gave us His Mother to be our Mother.
    http://www.RosaryConference.com/

Pope Benedict on Saint Athanasius, a Saint For Our Times

Wednesday, May 2, AD 2012

 

His epitaph is Athanasius contra mundum, “Athanasius against the world.” We are proud that our own country has more than once stood against the world. Athanasius did the same. He stood for the Trinitarian doctrine, “whole and undefiled,” when it looked as if all the civilised world was slipping back from Christianity into the religion of Arius—into one of those “sensible” synthetic religions which are so strongly recommended today and which, then as now, included among their devotees many highly cultivated clergymen. It is his glory that he did not move with the times; it is his reward that he now remains when those times, as all times do, have moved away.

                                                        CS Lewis

Saint Athansius stood for the Trinity at a time when the Emperor, Constantius, was Arian, and much of the Church in the East had embraced some form of Arianism.  Exiled five times by Constantius and his successors, Athanasius was a pillar of iron who never bended and tirelessly proclaimed the Truth, no matter the forces arrayed against the Truth.  His relevance for our day needs no elaboration from me.  Here is Pope Benedict on Saint Athanasius:

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13 Responses to Pope Benedict on Saint Athanasius, a Saint For Our Times

  • Pope Benedict XVI is a gift from God

  • According to St Athanasius, some heathen philosophers visited St Anthony, expecting to make fun of him, because he could not read.

    “Antony said to them, ‘What do you say? which is prior, the mind or letters? And which gives rise to which, mind to letters, or letters to mind?’ When they answered that mind was prior, and invented letters, Antony replied, ‘He, then, whose mind is in health, does not need letters.'”

  • Kind of a good thing that after Constantius, Julian the Apostate focused more on paganism and not arianism.

    Missionaries always had an easier time converting pagans, opposed to those who fell into Arianism.

  • Johnny5.

    “…….opposed to those who fell in to Arianism.”

    Correct – think mormons, JW’s and Advetists.

  • Arianism was a persistant heresy, enduring for centuries. Unfortunately most of the barbarian tribes that overran the Western Empire were Arians converted by the Arian missionary Ulfilas, a converted Goth. Here is his creed:

    “I, Ulfila, bishop and confessor, have always so believed, and in this, the one true faith, I make the journey to my Lord; I believe in one God the Father, the only unbegotten and invisible, and in his only-begotten son, our Lord and God, the designer and maker of all creation, having none other like him (so that one alone among all beings is God the Father, who is also the God of our God); and in one Holy Spirit, the illuminating and sanctifying power, as Christ said after his resurrection to his apostles: “And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49) and again “But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1:8); being neither God (the Father) nor our God (Christ), but the minister of Christ … subject and obedient in all things to the Son; and the Son, subject and obedient in all things to God who is his Father … (whom) he ordained in the Holy Spirit through his Christ.”

  • Athanasius is without a doubt one of my favorite theologians. Ever since I read his magnificent “On the Incarnation of the Word” I was hooked. Additionally, the Life of St. Anthony is probably one of the most inspiring biographies (and probably partial hagiography!) I have ever had the pleasure of encountering.

  • The conversion of the Visigoths and Vandals from Arianism to Catholicism was actually quite rapid.

    The Visigothic kingdom of Toulouse accepted the Nicene symbol after the battle of Vouillé in 507, at which Clovis himself killed their king, Alaric II in combat. In sending his congratulations, the Pope, St Symmachus, addresses Clovis as “the most Christian King of the Franks,” [Christianissimus Rex Francorum] a title born by his successors.

    Clovis [Louis in French], a convert from paganism, but married to a Catholic, St Clotilde and instructed by St Gaston, Bishop of Cambrai, he was baptised on Christmas Day 496 by St Rémy, Archbishop of Rheims. Their names remain very popular baptismal names in France to this day. St Gaston [Latin Vedastus] became popular in England, under the Anglicised form of St Foster, a name found amongst the first Catholic settlers in Maryland.

    At the First Council of Orléans, convened by Clovis in 511, all the Gaulish bishops, to the number of 33, subscribed the Nicene symbol. Diplomatic efforts on the part of his successors secured the deposition of the Arian bishops in Burgundy.

  • The Visigothic kingdom of Spain remained Arian until 587 when King Recccared converted to Catholicism. The Vandals remained Arian until their African kingdom was conquered by the Byzantines under Belisarius in 533. The Ostrogoths in Italy remained Arian until their conquest by the Byzantines, with the aid of the Catholic Franks, in 560. The strife between the Byzantines and the Ostrogoths cleared the way for the Arian Lombards to conquer most of Italy. They remained Arian until the latter part of the seventh century.

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  • Donald R. McClarey

    Arianism lasted just so long as it enjoyed the patronage of the civil power and it was willing to intrude Arian bishops into the sees under their control

    Arianism had been adopted by the commanders of barbarian auxiliaries, when it was fashionable att he court of Constatinople and remained the religion of the ruling class, rather like the Protestantism of the Ascendancy in Ireland. It never became the religion of the masses.

    That is why its eradication was so rapid and complete, once that support was withdrawn.

  • “Arianism lasted just so long as it enjoyed the patronage of the civil power and it was willing to intrude Arian bishops into the sees under their control”

    Actually Michael the same argument could have been made about Catholicism in the wake of the Protestant Reformation in the areas that went Protestant, and it would have been just as faulty. Arianism was defeated through a combination of conversion, the Visigoths in Spain and the Lombards in Italy, and catastropic military defeat, the Ostrogoths in Italy and the Vandals in North Africa. Like most creeds it found it hard to sustain itself when the secular government was in the hands of its adversaries. The same thing happened in regard to Catholicism after the Protestant Reformation, with a notable exception to this rule being the land of my forefathers, Ireland. If the Arian barbarian successor states had been able to hold power for far longer than they did, they might well have been able to convert the subject masses to Arianism, as was the case in the areas conquered by Islam in North Africa and most of the Near East.

  • Donald R. McClarey

    “If the Arian barbarian successor states had been able to hold power for far longer than they did, they might well have been able to convert the subject masses to Arianism…”

    Civilised men will never adopt the manners and customs of barbarians. You can see this very clearly, in the case of France; South of the line of the Loire, from Geneva in the East to the mouth of the Charante in the West, where the barbarians were too few in number to displace the Gallo-Roman population, the tradition of municipal government and the written law was never lost.

    As for Protestantism, England was the only former province of the Roman Empire that adopted it. There, the pirate kingdoms of the South and East coasts had severed Britain from the continent from the withdrawal of the legions in 410 to St Augustine’s mission in 597, thus breaking the continuity of civilised life. Protestantism was, and remained, the revolt of the outer barbarians against the Roman order.

  • “Civilised men will never adopt the manners and customs of barbarians.”

    That is quite untrue, as the history of the successor states of the Roman Empire in the West indicates, with the Roman aristocracy being lost amidst the barbarian aristocracy in a few generations. The barbarian artistocracy adopted some of the customs of the Romans, but it was mostly a one way street.

    “As for Protestantism, England was the only former province of the Roman Empire that adopted it.”

    It was a near run thing in France and Austria, only decided ultimately by military force in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Parts of Switzerland of course became Protestant. The idea that Protestantism was the revolt of outer barbarians is incorrect. Protestantism had adherents throughout Europe. They were quite strong in all parts of Europe in the first half of the sixteenth century except for Spain and Portugal. The ultimate dividing lines between Catholic and Protestant, with the notable exception of Ireland, was determined by which creed the ruling house of an area followed, with military force ultimately determing whether Protestantism or Catholicism became the order of the day. Cuius regio, eius religio, “Whose realm, his religion” at the Peace of Augsburg in 1555 merely recognized the reality on the ground in the Holy Roman Empire between Protestants and Catholic rulers. This was what happened throughout Europe in the wake of the Reformation.

Saint Athanasius On the Incarnation

Saturday, December 24, AD 2011

His epitaph is Athanasius contra mundum, “Athanasius against the world.” We are proud that our own country has more than once stood against the world. Athanasius did the same. He stood for the Trinitarian doctrine, “whole and undefiled,” when it looked as if all the civilised world was slipping back from Christianity into the religion of Arius—into one of those “sensible” synthetic religions which are so strongly recommended today and which, then as now, included among their devotees many highly cultivated clergymen. It is his glory that he did not move with the times; it is his reward that he now remains when those times, as all times do, have moved away.

                                                                                        CS Lewis

Something for the weekend.  O Holy Night sung by Celtic Woman.  I can think of nothing more appropriate for Christmas Eve than this passage from On the Incarnation by Saint Athanasius:

 

For this purpose, then, the incorporeal and incorruptible and immaterial Word of God entered our world. In one sense, indeed, He was not far from it before, for no part of creation had ever been without Him Who, while ever abiding in union with the Father, yet fills all things that are. But now He entered the world in a new way, stooping to our level in His love and Self-revealing to us. He saw the reasonable race, the race of men that, like Himself, expressed the Father’s Mind, wasting out of existence, and death reigning over all in corruption. He saw that corruption held us all the closer, because it was the penalty for the Transgression; He saw, too, how unthinkable it would be for the law to be repealed before it was fulfilled. He saw how unseemly it was that the very things of which He Himself was the Artificer should be disappearing. He saw how the surpassing wickedness of men was mounting up against them; He saw also their universal liability to death. All this He saw and, pitying our race, moved with compassion for our limitation, unable to endure that death should have the mastery, rather than that His creatures should perish and the work of His Father for us men come to nought, He took to Himself a body, a human body even as our own. Nor did He will merely to become embodied or merely to appear; had that been so, He could have revealed His divine majesty in some other and better way. No, He took our body, and not only so, but He took it directly from a spotless, stainless virgin, without the agency of human father—a pure body, untainted by intercourse with man. He, the Mighty One, the Artificer of all, Himself prepared this body in the virgin as a temple for Himself, and took it for His very own, as the instrument through which He was known and in which He dwelt. Thus, taking a body like our own, because all our bodies were liable to the corruption of death, He surrendered His body to death instead of all, and offered it to the Father. This He did out of sheer love for us, so that in His death all might die, and the law of death thereby be abolished because, having fulfilled in His body that for which it was appointed, it was thereafter voided of its power for men. This He did that He might turn again to incorruption men who had turned back to corruption, and make them alive through death by the appropriation of His body and by the grace of His resurrection. Thus He would make death to disappear from them as utterly as straw from fire.

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10 Responses to Saint Athanasius On the Incarnation

  • Pingback: CHRISTMAS EDITION | ThePulp.it
  • Thanks Don, those ladies are a class act.
    May the peace and joy and the blessings of Our Lord be with all, posters and commenters alike, on this blog.
    God Bless you all.

  • Merriest of Christmases and the Happiest of New Years Don!

  • Wow!!! Thanks, Donald. For the Message and the Ladies oh, so melodious voices. And a Very, Very Merry and Blessings-filled Christmas to you, and all our Commentators and Respondents of this Website and their Loved Ones. Donald, say a Prayer for us here in Kenya. We escaped by God’s Mercy a bombing to our Holy Family Minor Basilica – the Seat of the Head of the Catholic Church in Kenya, His Grace, John Cardinal Njue which is located in the Central of the Nairobi City. The Basilica had celebrated the first two Holy Masses at 6.15 a.m. and 9.00 a.m. During the 10.00 a.m. Holy Mass, just as we started to sing the Gloria, the Basilica had to be evacuated immediately as the Bomb Sensors indicated there was a bomb or some other explosive within the Basilica. The Contingent of Bomb Experts was called in and they came in with the sniffer dogs to locate where the gadget had been placed within the Cathedral. Consequently, we were all asked to leave the Basilica premises and its environs. We went to other Parishes for the Christmas Holy Mass. Both the main 11.30 a.m. Holy Mass – which the Cardinal was the main Celebrant – and the 6.00 p.m. Holy Mass – had to be cancelled. We are waiting for the evening News to learn what transpired. Incidentally, the 11.30 Holy Mass during Christmas and Easter is customarily attended by our President who is a practicing Catholic. We do not know whether this time, he was expected to attend that Holy Mass. Bomb attack threats during this Season have been made by the Al Shabaab Islamist Terrorists from the neighbouring Somalia where our Military Personnel are deployed in trying to quell the violence and also to protect our borders.

  • Merry Christmas Mary! What you folks are going through in Kenya puts in perspective the minor problems Catholics in the US have in comparison. My prayers are on the way!

  • “…a pure body, untainted by intercourse with man.”

    Intercourse with man is a taint?

  • Mary Christ Mass to all! To Christ through Mary.

  • Dear [email protected], my sympathy to you faithful in a place where bombs explode and blood is shed from a place where words and culture kill souls. O Holy Night helps to remind that our Lord is omniscient, has promised eternal life, inspired Psalm 23 to comfort us, and is Emmanuel.

  • Thank you, Donald and PM. Your Prayers will certainly be heard. May Baby Jesus touch the hearts of all people of goodwill so that we can continue to pray for the world and challenge the enemies of Peace, Love, Compassion and Mercy which Christ purchased for us through His Incarnation, Death and Resurrection.

  • Expert on the Life of St Athanasious the Great and Spokesperson on popular culture writes:

    Jesus Christ is God the eternal Son, born of a virgin. Wow! To contemplate the truth behind oft spoken words is itself a revelation. Young Athanasios served as a deacon under the Bishopric of Alexandrian Patriarch Alexander in the era when the first ecumenical council was held early in the fourth century. He was in fact the authorized scribe who recorded the names and the number of the 27 books to be included in the cannonical record of what we call the new testament. It was during his lifetime that remarkable figures abounded like St Anthony, father of all monks and St Paul of Thebes, the desert solitary.

    During his lifetime one of the greatest heresies of Christian history was threatening to overtake the burgeoning Christian church. I speak of the Arian heresy, based on another Bishop of note, Arius of Alexandria. By challenging the teaching that Jesus of Nazareth had a preincarnate life he dimenished two vitally important doctrines. 1.) – Jesus was a created being, a demi god 2.) – Mary the virgin mother was not bearer (the one who carried and enfleshed) of deity. A key word in the debate was the term “Theotokis”, which literally means “God bearer”.

    Perhaps the best explanation of who Christ is and why Christians believe He is God in the flesh are the very words of Athanasios himself as quoted in this piece. His book, ON THE INCARNATION is an elequent defence of the doctrine of Jesus Christ upon which all Christian truth may stand or fall. It is indeed a sad reality today that so many anti trinitarian heresies have resurfaced. Popular religious groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the renegade members and splinter sects of the Seventh Day Adventist church proclaim some form of the Arian heresy so aptly defeated by St Athanasios.

    Surely the legacy of Athanasios lives on within the heart of our Christian faith. It seems to me that earnest believers must better equip themselves to counter those who deny that Jesus is both God and man or that the trinitarian doctrine is not necessary for one to be identified as a Christian. They are very wrong! We must champion the essential truths of Christianity that reveal the nature of God and the nature of man. It seems to me that both religious and social problems within the church could be more easily corrected if we get it right on who God is and what He has done through the doing and dying of the God/Man Jesus on the cross.

Athanasius Contra Mundum

Monday, February 1, AD 2010

Athanasius Contra Mundum

Saint Athanasius, a Doctor of the Church, and the foremost defender of the divinity of Christ, is one of the key figures in the history of the Faith.  His era, the Fourth Century, was a time period of turbulent change, not unlike our own in that respect.  With the conversion of the Emperor Constantine to Christ, the Church was suddenly transformed from a proscribed cult into the religion of the Empire.  Instead of being executed for their faith in Christ, bishops found themselves important players in what was rapidly becoming a Christian Empire.  To many Christians, it seemed as if they had reached a golden period in human history when the Church could rapidly reach its goal of bringing all men to Christ.  History, however, never ceases to twist and turn as it charts the affairs of Man.

One of the more dangerous twists of History in the Fourth Century for the Church, was the meteoric rise of the Arian heresy.  A priest of Alexandria, Egypt, Arius propounded the doctrine that the Son, since he was begotten of the Father, was a creation of God, and not God.  He was the greatest of God’s creations, and next to God, but he was not God.  Of course, Arius thus destroyed the doctrine of the Trinity, and reduced Jesus from being God to being a creature serving God.  This doctrine, if it had prevailed, would have transformed Christianity into a Unitarian faith and inevitably downplayed the centrality of Christ.  The doctrine of Arius began to spread, until it was necessary for it to be addressed at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, the first of the ecumenical councils.  Called specifically to address Arianism, the Council was unequivocal in its condemnation of Arianism as indicated by the Nicene Creed written at the Council:

We Believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, only begotten, that is, from the substance of the Father; God from God, Light from Light, very God from very God, begotten, not made, Consubstantial with the Father, by whom all things were made, both things in heaven and things in earth; who for us men and for our salvation came down and was incarnate, was made man, suffered and rose again the third day, ascended into heaven, and is coming to judge the living and the dead. And in the Holy Spirit, and those who say “There was when he was not” and “Before his generation he was not” and “He came to be from nothing” or those who pretend that the Son of God is “Of other hypostasis or substance; or “created” or alterable” or “mutable”; the Catholic and apostolic Church anathematizes.

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13 Responses to Athanasius Contra Mundum

  • The Eastern half of the Roman Empire seems to receive the brunt of everything bad.

    Arianism, Chalcedonian schism, the doctrine of ceasaro-papalism, and Islam.

    I really feel for those guys, our Orthodox brothers and sisters.

  • Arianism is still alive and well in our time, in the form of the Adventist religions – particularly the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

  • And some Pentecostals.

    They don’t believe the Holy Spirit is not part of the triune God.

  • I think you’ve got a double negative there, Tito. 🙂

  • Don,

    I blame my public school education.

    😉

  • I blame the Reformation. 🙂

  • I tend to blame the French Revolution myself.

    Never trust a freemason frog.

    🙂

  • A lot of Catholic don’t believe in the divinity of Christ either.

  • “A lot of Catholics don’t believe in the divinity of Christ either.”

    Then they aren’t Catholics Tony.

  • Everyone is Catholic – some of us actually know it.

    I don’t want to be excessively critical and my Latin is very, very weak; however, doesn’t the Creed actually begin with I believe, instead of We believe?

    I think the distinction is a recognition of our free will. I freely choose to believe what the Church believes, but I cannot speak for what you believe. Hence when we are in Mass with divinity-denying Catholics (referenced above) we can still state what we believe as individual members of the Mystical Body of Christ. Or, perhaps, I don’t really know what I am talking about.

  • The Nicene Creed was written in Greek AK. I believe the English translation is an accurate rendering of the Greek, although I confess my Greek is weak!

  • It is all Greek to me 🙂

    The revised translation of the Novus Ordo begins the Creed with, “I believe” as opposed to “We believe”. I am fairly confident that is to emphasize that we are individual parts of the Mystical Body, each with a free will and that each of us on our own accord chooses to believe what the Church (We) believes.

    Just another reason why the Mass should be in a dead, uncorrupted, static language. Well, at least the propers should be.

    Kyrie Eleision (that’s all the Greek I know 😉

  • I think the official Latin uses “Credo” which I believe (ha ha) translates to “I believe” rather than “we believe.”

Is Bishop Roger Morin Mendaciously Defending CCHD?

Thursday, November 19, AD 2009

Bishop Roger Morin is the Chair of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) Subcommittee that directs the CCHD.  In theory the CCHD works towards ending poverty and injustice in the United States by basically offering grants to organizations that support these goals.  But reality is far harsher than what is written.

Numerous organizations have investigated the CCHD and have uncovered many nefarious groups that are diametrically opposed to the teachings of Jesus.  Many of these groups promote abortion to ‘gay marriage’.  What is striking is that the CCHD doesn’t do anything to end the funding unless a very bright light is shined on them such as the case with ACORN.

Bishop Roger Morin continues to issue memorandums defending CCHD’s vetting process and grants.  Yet time and time again he has been proven unequivocally wrong.  From the Young Workers United to the Chinese Progressive Association, CCHD apparently sees no evil… anywhere.

Is Bishop Roger Morin being mendacious in his continual defense of the indefensible.  I am having a really hard time believing that he could be so obtuse to such an important matter as this.

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35 Responses to Is Bishop Roger Morin Mendaciously Defending CCHD?

  • With so many Catholic charitable organizations, why is yet another overreaching organization necessary? Except perhaps to provide jobs for the bureaucrats in the USCCB?

    And what is “human development”? Does it not sound like one of those philanthopically mush words, with no specifics? I recall J.D. Rockefeller’s Committee for Uplift”.

    Is not the Church chiefly concerned with salvation?

  • Four words: Saint Vincent (de) Paul Society (SVDS).

    Their Catholic and they do fine social work.

    Give the money you normally give to CCHD to SVDS.

  • Charity is one side of the coin. Another is justice. And while I realize that many conservatives and Republicans seem to prefer charity as a way of keeping people in their place, the fact is that when the poor have authentic political advocacy, people can be permanently lifted out of poverty. If for no other reason that they in turn can help others.

    That said, the local SVDS is a worthy charity. Giving there is an improvement over pocketing the CCHD money for oneself.

    As for the post, another conservative Catholic calls another bishop a liar. Yawn.

  • Todd,

    I’m reporting what the good bishop is doing.

    And I’m Catholic first, conservative second, third or fourth.

    You need to remember that we are Catholics before we are anything else.

  • Holy smokes are you harsh on Morin.

    It seems the CA contacts, not surprisingly, gave some money to groups that when exposed, were de-funded. Outside of CA though, it does not seem to be a widespread problem, as there are almost no examples. It is not surprising that this is true in CA or that a few examples, given the number of groups that receive funding. occur. Even the highest diligence can result in errors-many of us have heath insurance plans that we did not know cover abortion; many of us shop at companies that support one or more causes we Catholics oppose.

    Perhaps that’s enough to make you concerned about making a donation to CCHD and I don’t care whether you donate or not. But that Morin’s skull ought to pave the road to hell? Absolutely no evidence that he deserves that kind of bashing. As a layman and a Catholic, you owe a bishop (or any other human being for that matter) far greater deference.

  • “the fact is that when the poor have authentic political advocacy, people can be permanently lifted out of poverty.”

    I’d say the trillions in anti-poverty efforts by government since the Great Society demonstrates how well unearned government handouts work in lifting anyone out of poverty.

  • Michael D.,

    Excellent point, but when this sort of thing has been going on for many years. And when the CCHD ignores others (like ourselves) who point out the error of their ways and yet they still ignore, then that is a totally different animal.

    As Todd has so clearly and ironically demonstrated that the CCHD seems more partisan than Catholic. Their blind loyalty to everything in the Democratic Party platform has jaded them to the point of being laughable.

    Laughable meaning reading Bishop Morin continously defend the indefensible.

    Believe me I have deference. You’ll know it’s me when you see me bend to my knee to kiss Cardinal DiNardo’s ring in a busy airport. I’m not ashamed of being Catholic.

    Unlike Bishop Morin who will find any excuse in the book to stick to the Democratic Party platform Catholic teaching be damned.

  • But is Morin defending the indefensible? He’s arguing the indefensible does not apply to this situation, and that the CCHD is committed to making sure the indefensible does not occur.

    You can disagree with that statement, as it’s a statement of fact. But it seems to me that Morin here has good intentions and if nothing else pushes that standard that the CCHD must hold the groups it funds accountable and needs to improve in carrying out that mission.

  • Defend the indefensible?

    Like when I suggested to you to move to Houston?

  • I am making a point of giving an extra large donation to the CCHD development this year, to counter those whose bizarre and Beckian acorn-fixation has trumped their support of a key Church program. I would note that despite its reputation in secular right-wing circles, “community activism” has a long history in Catholic social teaching. We call it subsidiarity. I would also note that the call for Catholics to donate to the CCHD stands at the top of the USCCB’s website. In my own diocese, it was the subject of a heart-felt letter by Bishop Knestout.

  • Actually I will be giving my money to Salt and Light radio which my diocesan newspaper strangely ran an editorial that was negative. Also that will go for the money I usually give to the annual Bishop’s appeal. Still doing good – just in a different way and in a way I can specify.

  • Tony, since you are a Leftist, of course you approve of the funding choices made over the years by the CCHD. Lord only knows why any other Catholic should.

    http://bellarmineveritasministry.org/

  • Here is something else that I have always considered odd about CCHD: why in the world is the Catholic Church in this country funding groups that are not Catholic? There are legions of Catholic groups in this country helping the poor. Why not fund them? For the answer, read what Father Neuhaus wrote last year:

    “What most Catholics don’t know, and what would likely astonish them, is that CHD very explicitly does not fund Catholic institutions and apostolates that work with the poor. Part of the thinking when it was established in the ideological climate of the 1960s is that Catholic concern for the poor would not be perceived as credible if CHD funded Catholic organizations. Yes, that’s bizarre, but the history of CHD is bizarre. The bishops could really help poor people by promptly shutting down CHD and giving any remaining funds to, for instance, Catholic inner-city schools. In any event, if there is a collection at your parish this month, I suggest that you can return the envelope empty—and perhaps with a note of explanation—without the slightest moral hesitation.”

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2008/11/13/not-one-dime/

  • That’s a true Catholic for you — deliberately give more money to anti-Catholic organizations just out of spite for other Catholics for not being leftists.

  • Suggesting mendacity is morally beyond the pale.

    If not slander it is at least detraction.

    Sins of this type require restitution. There’s a serious obligation to undo unjust harm done to another’s reputation.

    The eighth commandment is still operative, if I’m not mistaken.

  • I don’t think that I support the theory that Bishop Morin is being mendacious in his defense of the CCHD, nor the idea that he’s essentially doing it for resume material or visible credit. However, as I read around about the collection it strikes me as a rather poor idea that it specifically restricts itself to:

    a) Non-Catholic groups (groups that are specifically Catholic will not be funded by the CCHD, it’s purpose is to fund non-Catholic groups)

    b) Programs that do not seek to directly alleviate poverty (by providing food, housing, money, clothing, etc. to those in need) but rather to social programs which seek to change society in ways that will alleviate poverty in the long run.

    Particularly in light of the second, it strikes me as a bit dishonest that the marketing for the campaign this year is all focused around the current recession and “how long can you hold on” themes. The CCHD programs will specifically _not_ help families hold on and get back on their feet.

    In this regard, I think suggestions of focusing (especially this year) on Catholic programs that seek to directly help those in need (such as St.VdP) are entirely reasonable. Reading over the list of groups which were funded last year on the USCCB site, I see very few that I would choose to donate to over the charities that I already fund. And coming two weeks after the annual diocesan appeal (which I support very, very strongly) it’s not at a good time in our diocese anyway.

  • “Mendacious” well, it’s a nice Latin way of calling someone a liar.

    Still, this post has been up all day and Donald has likewise had all day to consider the distinction between charity and justice. And he still doesn’t get it. For an educated man, willful ignorance is a sorry sight to see.

  • “For an educated man, willful ignorance is a sorry sight to see.”

    Actually Todd some of the most willfully ignorant individuals I have encountered during my life have been the best educated. Those without much formal education I have generally found to be eager to learn. As to charity and justice they are both essentially about love, and a key element of love is truth and not pleasing illusions about bishops or collections.

  • the fact is that when the poor have authentic political advocacy, people can be permanently lifted out of poverty

    When people have their health and acquire trade skills they can be permanently lifted out of poverty.

  • I am giving my money… wait a minute… never mind. Maybe next year…

  • Todd,

    When overwhelming evidence is showing how much evil these organizations do and the good bishop is willfully ignoring it, then he’s causing scandal.

    Donald,

    I agree. The most educated always find creative and innovative ways to lie through their teeth. Hoping that they find moral loopholes and ethical backdoors to continue lieing through their teeth.

  • Is Bishop Roger Morin Mendaciously Defending CCHD?

    IMHO YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Personally, I’m not getting too worked up over this. I agree with those who say that organisations that are not Catholic but help serve the poor (and in ways other than strictly soup kitchens, etc.) are worthy recipients. IKnowing mankind and burocracies, I think erros inevitable. The key questions are: are errors identified as such and acted on in ernest? What measures are taken to prevent them in the future. Tied to the later, was the issue really just an error or was it something endemic or nefarious?

    Frankly, I don’t think it is uncharitable or unreasonable to question the program or the judgment of those who run the operation. Excluding Catholic organisations strikes me as terribly imprudent and contrary to our the mission of the Church, which is in part to serve. The selection of some of these organisations is horrific and I can’t believe they were done in ingnorance. This is indeed a problem and IMO the only possible correction is to revisit the mission and operating plan, and start from ground up again.

  • Charity and justice are two different but complementary things. I would venture to suggest that while charity (tending to individual, immediate, short-term needs) is an area where church leaders and church institutions do well, justice (tending to the long-term needs of society) is more the job of the laity.

    Pope John Paul II more or less acknowledged that when he banned priests from running for public office — he was saying it’s not their job, that belongs to lay people exercising their properly formed convictions.

    C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity also said in a chapter about how “the Church” is supposed to lead the way in creating a just society, that this can be understood in two ways. If it means that active Christians ought to become politicians, business leaders, etc. and devote themselves to putting Christian principles into action, that is true.

    But if it means “the bench of bishops getting together to put out a political program,” that is wrong and silly, just as expecting Christian literature to come from priests and bishops writing plays and novels in their spare time, rather than from talented writers and poets who also happen to be Christians, would be silly.

    With that in mind, I think CCHD represents the official Church hierarchy trying to do something they were not really called to do.

  • “Tony, since you are a Leftist, of course you approve of the funding choices made over the years by the CCHD. Lord only knows why any other Catholic should.”

    By your argument, Donald, the US bishops are leftists, and God knows why Catholics should support them on this one.

  • I have issues with some of the funding decisions which CCHD has made to the point that I probably won’t contribute this year. *But*, I enthusiastically support the idea of trying to address human development in a systemic fashion (cf. Caritas in Veritate in general on human development). I give a more of my annual tithe to organizations that provide direct service to those in need (e.g. SVdPS), but I’d like to be able to contribute to an umbrella organization that provides funds for systemic solutions, much like CCHD intends to do.

    Anyone have any recommendations?

  • Tony I have no doubt that some Bishops lean as far Left as you do. A bigger problem is that most of them pay no attention and let USCCB bureaucrats run the show and almost all of them are on the political Left. The whole purpose of the CHD is not to help the poor but rather to fund political pressure groups of the left. The ACORN funding was not a bug but a wad of this annual tithe that Catholic parishioners unknowing pay to the Left in this country.

  • The question arises: why is the good bishop refusing to go slowly in examining the organization being funded by CATHOLIC money? Is it right for the good bishop to complain about sheep who bleat? It is certainly not right for him to accuse them of bad faith.

    I note that in my diocese money is to be directed to Albuquerque Interfaith. This is a group founded by Saul Alinsky, whose underlying purpose is to organize for political action.

    Meanwhile we have FOOD FOR THE POOR, ALBUQUERQUE RESCUE MISSION, the various groups helping the local Indian reservations, PREGNANCY HELP and so on. These are small groups who do actually feed the poor, and advise about pregnancies and the like.

  • Gabriel, I don’t fault CCHD for not funding organizations that provide direct assistance… their mission is to address problems at a systemic & structural level, which often entails political involvement. I welcome such an intention… I only wish that CCHD didn’t so often fund organizations with views in opposition to Catholic doctrine.

  • Its so sad that at a time when we are closing catholic schools in the inner cities, we are also giving money to groups like these.

  • The problems with the CCHD can be found right in its granting process. It grants only to those organizations that have the “involuntary poor” on their boards of directors. This defies common sense. If the poor understood the “root causes” of poverty and knew the remedies for them, then (Hello) they wouldn’t be poor, would they.

    The poor in this country have largely been conditioned to believe that the solution to poverty is government handouts. Therefore, the action to take to end poverty would be to register the poor to vote for those politicians who will give the most government(taxpayer) funds to the poor. Hence you have ACORN who’s main work was voter registration as a recipient of CCHD funds.

    Also, I would like to say that it is very devious how the Bishops go about getting this money. They should make it clear that the money will not be used by the
    Church directly but given to secular groups to do the work they cannor or will not do. If the Bishops want the faithful to give to these groups, they should issue pastoral guidelins saying so, not collect money under false pretenses then redistribute the moeny to these groups. The Bishops should put out their list of recommended charities, then let us decide which onnes we wnt to donate to.

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  • Another November CCHD collection to which I did not contribute. I have only so much money, and that will go to charities that I am certain are unquestionably Catholic. CCHD is not one of those.

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Cardinal Egan's Inability To Raise Vocations

Thursday, March 12, AD 2009

cardinal-egan

Outgoing Archbishop of New York Cardinal Egan demonstrates why he is a complete failure in raising the number of vocations in his archdiocese.  In comments made to a radio program in Albany two days ago Cardinal Egan [may have] insinuated that because priests aren’t allowed to marry was the cause of his inability to raise the number of vocations.  Cardinal Egan openly admitted it was his “greatest” failure in bringing in more seminarians.

[I am using the Cardinal’s own words in describing the issue of raising the number of vocations]

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23 Responses to Cardinal Egan's Inability To Raise Vocations

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  • As a NY Catholic I have my own opinions on Cardinal Egan, but in all fairness if you actually listen to the interview, he DID NOT “that because priests aren’t allowed to marry was the cause of his inability to raise the number of vocations.”

    First, he was asked about diminishing vocations across the nation (concurrent with the general decline of religion) and he noted that, while the visit of Benedict XVI did indeed provoke a rise within the diocese, overall the number is down.

    Secondly, he was asked about the matter of priestly celibacy and he stated that it was a perfectly legitimate discussion (it is) — since there are other rites which permit married priests he did not think an ‘across the board’ determination in one direction or the other was desirable. This is a perfectly legitimate point.

    He did NOT, however, tie his second opinion with the first, and I think you go too far in accusing him of such.

    (However, I’m more sympathetic to your basic point about catechesis and doctrinal orthodoxy).

  • Christopher,

    That is why I used the word ‘insinuated’ in reference to connecting the lack of vocations to the discipline of celibacy in the priesthood.

    I sensed an escape valve that Cardinal Egan was trying to paint as a possible cause to his lack of success in raising the number of vocations in his archdiocese.

  • “Insinuated” implies intent. My point is that I don’t think intent can be substantiated by listening to the interview.

    One question followed the other from the interviewer and Egan responded to both in succession. But in addressing the second question, he did not refer back to the first.

  • The definition of “insinuated” is to suggest indirectly by allusion, hints, or innuendo.

    Why would Cardinal Egan bring up his inability to raise the number of vocations after the question of celibacy came up. So clearly the lack of vocations was on his mind when answering the celibacy question.

    Hence why I used the word “insinuated”.

  • Probably it would have been better to use “may have intended” or “may have insinuated” instead of just “insinuated”.

    You have a point.

  • Tito,

    If I were you (and I am not), I would out of charity to Archbishop Egan simply erase this post. I see your concerns, but think you may have made a mistake here and read into his words.

    As Pope Benedict said yesterday, the Church is in too much danger of devouring itself within, in its hypercritical mode.

  • Mark,

    Thanks for the advice.

    It stands because he represents what many bishops around the country do and that is nothing when it comes to enforcing Catholic teaching.

  • Egan? Please consider if you are being a tad bit harsh here. Again, I understand your alarm over the “vocations-crisis” and your desire for good shepherds to tend to the flock. But matters may be a bit more complex than you are leading on here.

    Remember, this is a brother in Christ who sacrificed his life in service to the Church, and is generally seen as pretty solid.

  • Mark,

    I understand where you are coming from.

    I was careful to criticize is lack of success in raising the number of vocations, not the man himself. He does a very difficult and time consuming job that most men would fold deep into this process.

    He is solid, but I wanted to make the point that there are many orthodox bishops that practice their faith very well, but don’t take the necessary steps to enforce Catholic teaching.

  • Tito,

    OK.

    We’ll just agee to disagree about the post.

  • The best we heard about him was- he balanced the books. And brought New York’s Hispanic community into full prominence within the diocese. Nice. My own problem with His Nibs was in the weeks following 9/11. When he spent quality time at the Vatican, no doubt enjoyin those lovely trattorias with his old buddies. While Rudy Giuliani- who His Nibs accurately called out for the multiple matrimonies- was hustling to two to three Funeral Masses daily for police officers and firefighters killed at WTC. In all fairness, most of the old skool sees have trouble bringing in young men to the seminaries. I quote the most faithful Father Shane Tharp in Oklahoma, schooled at our own St. Charles Seminary. That the local lads turned up noses as in ew you hayseed hick residing in our mansion. Sharp from Father Tharp- yeah and without guys like me your little mansion would be bulldozed and the property sold to build a shopping complex. Or something like that. In any event we pray new Archbishop Dolan makes the molding of Melchizideks a higher priority than outgoing His Nibs.

    (Oh, the Catholic Channel on Sirius/XM- largely sponsored by NY Diocese- is pretty spiffy.)

  • I like many of the successes of Cardinal Egan, the Catholic Channel being one of my favorites!

  • I agree with Mark. It is certain that many of the Bishops may not enforce Catholic teaching as well as they could; we certainly don’t know the extent in which they try — all we see is end results and we look back in retrospect with criticism.

    I’m not sure of the criticism offered here is constructive.

    Why does Bishop Bruskewitz have an (over) abundance of priests in his little diocese? Probably because he actively leads by example and enforces Catholic teaching. I know many good bishops who are as orthodox as they come, where they fail is in their utter disregard to bring in line dissident priests, parishes, and laymen. Bishop Bruskewitz is the only bishop in the United States that still doesn’t allow female altar servers, has most of the tabernacles behind the altar (where they belong), keeps his priests in line in following the correct rubrics of the liturgy, crushes dissident when they rear their ugly head, and has strict guidelines for teaching catechesis. Are there armies of mini-skirted extraordinary ministers giving Communion during Mass anywhere in his diocese? I doubt it, rare if any.

    St. Paul himself wrote to several churches admonishing theological and ecclesial error. But the existence of errors doesn’t necessarily insinuate that Paul was not demanding orthodoxy to the Tradition or that there were no people of good faith in the communities trying to maintain that Tradition. I think it’s too simple to criticize someone and to the level of comparison to another Bishop as if the only factor influencing the difference in the two dioceses are the Bishops. I’m sure there’s a myriad of other factors and perhaps a lot of bad in the diocese that seemingly has less problems because we’re so far removed from the problems, cannot possibly know the ins and outs of every aspect of each parish in a diocese.

    This seems like a gloss over the principle of subsidiarity. It’s like saying the whole of economic prosperity during the Clinton years was solely the result of good leadership on behalf of President Clinton. Perhaps, God has graced the diocese with well-catechized, faithful priests who promote orthodoxy not just in their preaching, but by living good lives and many of the problems don’t reach the Bishop as one would think. I’d suppose from your reasoning that the Bishop is almost Superman, going everywhere in the diocese quelling the slightest problems. I know that’s hyperbolic, but that’s how, from my view, your wording presents itself.

    If Cardinal Egan would have even bothered to visit many of his parishes would he have put his foot down on these many abuses? Would he have disciplined priests who wash women’s feet on Holy Thursday and allow women to lead the homilies? Would he have cleaned up his seminaries of limp-handed, left-wing professors who dissent from Catholic teaching? No, no, and hell no.

    This comes across almost as an ad hominem attack. It is not so much the point that the Bishop should exert more effort in living out his vocation — and we all can heed that message — but it is the wording and the tone of it that seems very judgmental and presumptuous, as if this little bit would yield the almost perfect diocese described previously.

    In good charity, I’ve found lately that rather than expounding blatant criticism of someone else’s failures and shortcoming, not that they should never be expressed in good and charitable ways, but I took the opportunity to render some of my judgment on myself and observe my shortcomings and how they influence the Church and those outside of it and whether or not they are shown the light of the Gospel as preached by the Church through me. Now there is a clear role of a Shepherd, but I think in emotional frustration — especially given the widespread theological dissent in the Church right now — can easily lead us to blame much of the Church’s problems on a particular person, especially a Bishop. Not that I’m saying he does not have a pivotal role and a responsibility to promote and teach the faith; but I think your case here does not present itself well.

  • ‘Would he have cleaned up his seminaries of limp-handed, left-wing professors who dissent from Catholic teaching? No, no, and hell no.’

    Why the gratuitous homosexual slur?

  • “I would out of charity to Archbishop Egan simply erase this post. ”

    I absolutely agree. And the above comments are pertinent. Personally speaking, if this is the tone that American Catholic is going to take w/ regard to bishops, I will reconsider following this blog.

  • Again, I am criticizing his poor record on raising vocations, not the man himself.

  • demonstrates why he is a complete failure in raising the number of vocations in his archdiocese.

    I think this is unfair to Cardinal Egan, as are the comparisons with other bishops. New York is a uniquely challenging diocese, and the population of Catholics in the Northeast as a whole has been shrinking. While there may be valid criticisms of the Cardinal, I think they should be offered in a gentler tone, and without the assumption that everything is his fault. Cardinal Egan comes in for a lot of criticism; but he was in a difficult diocese, and we should applaud him for being willing to serve as the bishop of New York even if we disagree with some of his decisions. There are Cardinals who are far more deserving of criticism than Cardinal Egan who, from all appearances, is a faithful bishop who was doing his best.

  • “Again, I am criticizing his poor record on raising vocations, not the man himself.”

    I found this post to be more of a spewing rant than an honest and thorough critique. But you are a blogger here, so it’s your prerogative what you choose to post. Peace be with you!

  • Eric,

    Very eloquently put.

    Part of my post, or rant as Alan put it, was to explain the difference between an orthodox bishop who leads by example and an orthodox bishop who leads as well as takes action.

    Yes, I am personally frustrated by the rampant disregard to liturgy and catechesis. That is why I saw in Cardinal Egan’s comments an excellent example of someone choosing a straw man, priestly celibacy, as part of the problem to a lack of vocations, rather than the obvious solution so well exhibited by Bishop Bruskewitz of Nebraska.

    All,

    Again, where are the St. Ambrose’s of this country?

    I admit that I was a bit over the top on my criticism and I’ll rectify the situation on this particular column because hey, I don’t want Alan to be bored during his lunch break while boycotting AC ;~) .

    Thank you all for the constructive criticism.

  • It is Lent, after all – but my contribution to all of this will be to buy you a beer.

  • [Egan] is solid, but I wanted to make the point that there are many orthodox bishops that practice their faith very well, but don’t take the necessary steps to enforce Catholic teaching.

    [and]

    Again, I am criticizing his poor record on raising vocations, not the man himself.

    Seeing as you have sought to amend the content of the post, I would amend the title as well, which repeats the charge. IMHO.

  • For this New Yorker who was originally happy to see Cardinal Egan come to here:

    Come on tax day!

One Response to Why the Incarnation?

  • There is yet a better answer among the Fathers, in my opinion: that God, being life, imparts life to all he touches; and that by becoming man, he touched everlasting death, thereby transforming it into eternal life.

    I prefer this response because of its brevity, elegance, transcendence, and profound simplicity.

    But by all means, please do read St. Athanasius. He’s a top-notch theologian Saint by any standard.